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Poster: kdern Date: Sep 21, 2011 1:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: This might be a dumb question, but...

OK - this probably shows what a newbie I am around here, but I'm going to ask anyway. Did the Dead make setlists? Or did they decide onstage about what to play next?

It hear sometimes someone in the band starting a song, and the others jump in... (example - Sugar Magnolia on 4/14/72) did they know they were going to play Magnolia next, but it actually started as a result of improvisation?

If there's a break between songs, how come you never hear them discussing onstage what song to play next?

I would think that setlists for second sets were more improvised than first sets?

Told you... newbie questions!

Thanks...

(By the way - 4/14/72 is amazing).

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Sep 21, 2011 2:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This might be a dumb question, but...

See a couple of posts from LiA:

http://www.archive.org/post/375314/a-question-about-grateful-dead-sets

http://www.archive.org/post/326615/the-band-talks-about-setlists

You're not alone pondering this.

edit: as to why you can't hear them - they are not close to the mikes; and you can hear them during tuneup "discussing" it with guitars, the chords they play, the warm-up notes - all are "tells" of what song is coming.

This post was modified by unclejohn52 on 2011-09-21 21:18:56

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Poster: kdern Date: Sep 21, 2011 2:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This might be a dumb question, but...

The quotes are interesting - thanks for posting...

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Sep 21, 2011 2:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This might be a dumb question, but...

they definitely had setlists , though some will disagree but would and could abort that list without notice!!!

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Poster: snori Date: Sep 21, 2011 2:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This might be a dumb question, but...

I don't think it was lists as such, more a case of what they wouldn't play because it had been played the night before, or even the night before that. I'm not including 60s shows in this sweeping generalisation.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Sep 21, 2011 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This might be a dumb question, but...

I see someone already posted my earlier setlist comments, so I'll just give a few brief answers -

The Dead didn't make setlists, but decided onstage. You generally don't hear them discussing it since they chatted away from the mikes (occasionally you can hear someone call for something). The second-set segues sometimes needed more planning (if they weren't doing one of "the usuals") so they'd discuss what they'd do between sets.
I think I read somewhere, though, that when Vince started out they did setlists for his benefit for a while.

First-set setlists were actually more improvised than second sets, I think. Usually starting a second set, the band had a bit of a plan about what it was going to do; and also, the number of song choices tended to be more limited in second sets.
(That said, both sets tended to be pretty rigid in terms of what songs showed up - perhaps that made it easier to pick songs on the fly, but the Dead's inventiveness did not often turn to wild Furthur-type setlists. I suspect Jerry's the main culprit in the Dead's conservative setlists...)

When one of them starts a song unexpectedly & the others join in, I think you have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether it was planned. Sometimes the other guys are taken by surprise; sometimes it was a planned song (like the Sugar Magnolia you mention, I'm sure) and it just sounds like serendipity. You could do an interesting study just of the various ways Weir segued to Sugar Magnolia out of Dark Star in that period...